Lynn Scarlett’s Nomination to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior
March 15, 2005
Decisions are being made at the Interior Department that have incredible impacts on our public lands, and the people, plants, and animals that live on and around them. Too many such decisions are being made with insufficient public oversight and by political appointees who all too often favor corporations’ special interests over the protection of our natural resources.
In her testimony before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources this week, Ms. Scarlett testified that protecting habitats, and the flora and fauna on public land, is part of the Department’s mission. But the Department cannot carry out this mission when its decisions are tainted by even the appearance of conflicts of interest.
The Interior Department’s Inspector General has investigated top political appointees at the Interior Department, in particular the former Deputy Secretary, for potentially violating their ethics agreements in meeting with or participating in decisions that benefited their former employers or clients. Decisions at the Department all too frequently favored the interests that the previous Deputy Secretary, J. Steven Griles, represented in the private sector, such as oil, mining, and gas clients, over the public interest. Decisions like this are despoiling our nation’s public lands and undercutting fundamental environmental laws.
Friends of the Earth calls on Lynn Scarlett to ensure that decisions are made by the Department of the Interior with full public oversight, with thorough consideration for the impacts on the environment and the public good, and without bias toward any special interest. Friends of the Earth urges the Department of the Interior to return to its mission of protecting the natural resources of our great nation.
Friends of the Earth (FoE) is a cutting-edge, non-profit environmental group founded by David Brower over 35 years ago in a small San Francisco firehouse. Friends of the Earth works to preserve the public lands of the American people by ensuring that the government fulfills its responsibility protect the environment. Over the past four years, Friends of the Earth has exposed conflicts of interest within the Interior Department and violations of ethics agreements by high-level officials at the Interior Department.